Garfield County officials identify area sex offender
Aspen, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colo. – Garfield County Sheriff’s Department officials revealed the identity of a newly registered “sexually violent predator” to a crowd of more than 80 people gathered at the Sheriff’s Annex near Rifle Thursday evening.
The identified sex offender, Ronald Eugene Noel, 49, is living in his car, a white 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, and is looking for work in Garfield County, said Garfield Sheriff’s investigator Tamra Blackard.
Noel stands 5-feet-9, weighs 240 pounds and has long, curly dark hair that is tied back in a ponytail. He has blue eyes and sometimes wears glasses.
“He is a transient. He could be anywhere in Garfield County,” Blackard said. “He has done very well with going to law enforcement to register, but he is not supervised, and he does not have to get permission to move.”
Noel was most recently seen at the Rifle Lions Park Rest Area, said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney. His vehicle has the Colorado license plate number 864VYU.
He is the county’s second registered “sexually violent predator.” Sheriff’s spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said another registered predator moved to New Castle last summer.
Shay Boe of Grand Junction, a sex-offender treatment counselor who serves Garfield County, urged the public to be aware of Noel, and to be supportive in his search for housing and a job.
“These guys in reality make great employees. They have a probation officer, a treatment provider, and they have to check in. As community members,” Boe told the audience, “you can help lower their risk of re-offending by offering opportunities for employment.”
Blackard noted that harassing a registered sex offender is itself a crime.
“Harassment is counterproductive. The last thing we want to do is drive these people under,” Blackard said. “We want them to stay registered, to comply with the law. They’ve done their time, they already have the shame of being on a public list and being the subject of a meeting like this.
“We can’t keep beating them down. They are just as human as the rest of us. They just made some very bad decisions,” she added.
In Noel’s case, he was convicted a decade ago of first-degree attempted sexual abuse in Eugene, Ore.
Blackard said Noel had been living for years with a family whose children called him “Uncle Ron,” although he was not a relative. He was convicted of fondling a 6-year-old girl in the family on two occasions.
Noel served three years in state prison, and was released on parole in May 2003. His parole was revoked in April 2004 after he left Oregon without telling his parole officer. He returned to prison and was released in July 2004 at the end of his term. Noel remained under post-prison supervision until March 2006, Blackard said.
While the crime he was convicted on was not overtly violent, Oregon prison officials ranked him as a high-risk sexual predator based on evaluations and risk factors. Oregon’s classification of Noel as a “level 1 sexual predator” correlates in Colorado to “sexually violent predator.”
This ranking will stay with Noel for the rest of his life and require him to register with law enforcement as a sex offender wherever he goes.
“Everywhere he moves, he registers. And every place he goes, law enforcement has to do a community notification meeting like this,” Blackard said. If he stays in Garfield County, Noel will be required to check in with the sheriff’s office every three months.
“We need your eyes and ears to manage him,” Blackard told the audience, which also included people watching the meeting as it was being televised live on Rifle community access television. “Our goal here is to manage these people, so they know we know who they are.”
If residents see Noel, Blackard advised them to make a mental note of the time, place and circumstances.
“Make eye contact. Let him know you know who he is and what he is doing,” she said.
Cheney said there is no harm in calling law enforcement for any sighting, but urged residents to call police if they spot Noel near a school or school bus stop.
A full-length recording of the meeting Thursday evening on DVD is available for a one-week period of time from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. To request a copy, call 945-0453.
On Thursday evening, the panel of presenters spent as much time advising the audience about how to be aware of sex crimes and sex offenders in the community as explaining the recent arrival and registration of Ronald Noel.
“It cuts across all lines,” said Boe, speaking from years of experience as a professional working with sex offenders.
“Many sex offenders have no criminal history, but they all tend to be deceptive, manipulative and secretive. They tend to live a double life, and we need to shine a light on that.”
She also said most sex offenses go unreported, and most offenders are never detected or caught.
“Victims generally report the crime about 15 years later,” she said, often during their own treatment for the resulting mental health difficulties.
She noted that one in four women and at least one in 17 men are sexually assaulted during their lives.
“If anyone ever comes to you reporting sexual assault, believe them, without a doubt. Then let the investigators do their job,” Boe said.
McGinnis urged parents to have serious talks with their children about how to recognize a predatory adult, and what to do to get help.
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